The Government has announced via it's Queens Speech that it intends to repeal all EU Regulations currently still part of UK legislation in a complete turn-around from its position of promising the lowered standards and a complete moving away from EU standards; would not happen after Brexit!
The inference being that from the 'Six Pack' H&S standards and regulations to the Food Safety standards and Chemical safety standards to worker's rights and environmental standards, will be repealed. In many cases simply not replaced with better standards despite Boris Johnson promising during the Brexit Campaign, that there would be little diversion from EU standards except in cases where the Government makes major improvements to them.
As we all now know, Boris Johnson is a liar, and this latest attack on the working, living, and environmental standards along with food safety; is a clear signal that workers rights and health and safety are going to be simply a thing of the past. Indeed, we will be racing to the bottom in order to ensure future trade agreements with the USA, by mirroring their extremely dangerous lack of standards when it comes to food and agricultural safety, workplace protections and chemicals in our food and cosmetics. The factory farming of herds of cows kept on concrete floors and indoors could soon be part of the UK's farming practices.
Writing to all CWU Branches prior to the day in which we 'remember the dead. Fight for the living.' on IWMD2022 and the very day that the Health & Care Act 2022 was given the royal assent and became English Law and abolished Universal healthcare for all and broke up the English NHS into 42 autonomous and unaccountable bodies, Dave Joyce made clear the threat that working people now face following the Government's intention to have a 'bomb fire' of EU laws currently still part of UK laws:
The UK saw major change in the 70’s with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the formation of the HSE, followed by the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977, followed by a plethora of European Health and Safety Directives transposed into UK Health and Safety Regulations through the 80’s and 90’s.
But what’s going to happen after Brexit? Which UK health and safety legislation will be affected and how?
Brexit presents the Tory right-wing opportunists with a new rationale for undermining health and safety law and enforcement through de-regulation, a drift towards an extreme form of self-regulation, further HSE budget cuts, enforcement and inspection cuts and post-Brexit now raises an imminent threat of the UK entering a ‘race to the bottom’.
Both Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Michael Gove Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government have called for the removal of the Health and Safety Regulations and Jacob Rees-Mogg Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency of the United Kingdom has said that the UK could slash safety standards "a very long way" after Brexit!
The 2021 EU/UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement may enable the UK to evade its formal health and safety responsibilities under the treaty because of the lack of the prospect of significant retaliatory ‘rebalancing’ measures.
Should minimal health and safety requirements cease to apply in the post-EU era, then the UK Government will be free to pursue a system of self-regulation that will allow health and safety standards to fall even further behind those of other developed economies. Add this to the UK’s appalling record in observing ILO workplace health and safety instruments - in total, the UK Government has ratified only 6 of a total of 35 ILO ‘up-to-date’ health and safety protocols and conventions.
There are a total of 74 countries that have ratified more ILO health and safety conventions than the UK. This is scarcely what should be expected of a supposedly world leading economy currently engaged in negotiating trade deals with the world beyond the EU 27. It does not appear anything is going to change on this front and the Trade Unions may have some major battles ahead in defending and protecting health and safety!
This is not the first time that the CWU's National Health, Safety and Environment Assistant Secretary, Dave Joyce has had to warn of impending cuts to Health & Safety and Workers Rights legislation. David Cameron introduced his infamous 'Red Tape Challenge' to 'kill the H&S monsters' early on in his premiership, with backing from the then chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne.
Readers of this website will recall the detail of that campaign and how it is about to be revitalised!
Source: UK Gov / CWU